FOJAB behind Norrgavel's new look

After a major renovation, the doors of Norrgavel's store are now open in a listed building on Birger Jarlsgatan in Stockholm. FOJAB's architects have worked closely with Norrgavels founder and designer Nirvan Richter to develop solutions that are both contemporary and a return to the original expression.

The 1911 building was designed by architect Carl Bergsten, who is also responsible for the Liljevalch Art Gallery. The design language is heavily national romantic but at the same time with a certain playfulness and with several unconventional approaches. The building is considered particularly valuable and worth preserving.

The building was built as a theater but with the idea that it could be converted into a department store. In 1938 the building became a cinema and in 1985 the rock club Gino moved in. For a few years in the 1990s, an office was housed here before Norrgavel took over the premises twenty-five years ago. Numerous changes have been made both internally and externally over the years, but it is only now that the building is really being adapted for retail operations.

FOJAB has played a central role in the transformation, with assignments from two directions. As an architect for the property owner Humlegården, it has monitored the property's values in a long-term perspective. As an architect for Norrgavel, we have, based on Nirvan Richter's visions, developed proposals on how the store can be used more efficiently and with its interior expression reflect Norrgavel's brand.

- The collaboration with FOJAB started with our store in Malmö. It has been extremely liberating to have a partner to discuss ideas with," says Nirvan Richter, who is also an architect. "FOJAB's architects were much bolder than me and proposed solutions that I would never have dared to do myself, both in Malmö and Stockholm. It has been very successful!

Inside, space has been freed up, accessibility has been improved and lines have been cleaned up. A new floor opening in the atrium and a former outdoor staircase have now become part of the shop floor. The space feels contemporary and modern but in harmony with Carl Bergsten's intentions.

- Transforming older buildings is very much about understanding and being inspired by the original architect and the intention of the original work. With the cultural environment as a sounding board, we have optimized flows, tightened the material palette and created a new store experience," says Ylva Åborg, commissioned architect at FOJAB.

On the exterior, the building has been restored to its original design in terms of materials and colors in consultation with the architectural antiquarian. The facade's large windows have been restored, the entrance has been moved and decorations have been restored.

- This is a building that, since its inception, has contributed to Stockholm's street life with liveliness and human encounters. We have now reinforced that character with the large glass sections and better transparency between inside and outside. I hope that many people will want to come by and take a look, because this is more than a retail experience, it is also an architectural experience," says Robin Larsson, supervising architect at FOJAB.